Elko wreck kills three members of Aiken family

An investigation is ongoing into a wreck that killed three members of a family the evening of Friday, Feb. 3 in Elko, according to Lance Corporal Judd Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

All three members of the same family from Aiken were riding together in a 2006 Toyota Four Runner when their SUV was struck head-on by a 1999 Chevrolet van driven by 61-year-old William Givens of Williston, said Jones.

George M. Counts Jr., 56, his wife Cynthia Marsh Counts, 56, and his father George M. Counts Sr., 81, all of Aiken, died at the scene, according to Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward.

Givens, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was “seriously injured”, said Jones, and was transported by ambulance to Augusta University Medical Center.

A third car involved in the accident was a 2003 Chevrolet driven by Ashley Foskey, 32, of Blackville. Foskey was wearing her seatbelt and was not injured in the collision, according to Jones.

The accident occurred around 6:15 p.m. on U.S. Highway 78 in Elko.

According to Jones, the Counts were headed east on U.S. Highway 78 and Foskey was behind them, also headed east. The van was headed west and struck both of the other vehicles in the eastbound lane, said Jones.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) and the Barnwell County Coroner’s Office are currently investigating the accident.

Jones said “no charges have been made at this time but charges are possible.”

The victims

According to their obituaries posted by Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Home, Aiken, a triple funeral is planned for Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Cedar Creek Church, Banks Mill Campus, at 2 p.m.

Cynthia Marsh Counts was a native of Rockingham, N.C., but she spent over 30 years in Aiken. She served the community as a longtime employee of SRP Federal Credit Union, including filling in at the Barnwell branch. She was a 1979 graduate of Williston-Elko High School.

“My heart goes out to all the families of the loved ones involved in the Elko wreck. Cindy Marsh Counts was a sweet girl to know and grow up with. I always enjoyed seeing her in Aiken and talking about our kids,” said Williston resident Mary Ann Walkup.

George Michael Counts Jr. was a lifelong resident of Aiken and a supervisor for SRR at the Savannah River Site. He was Chief Load Master of 317th Squadron of the United States Air Force Reserves, Charleston. A lover of aviation, he was a longtime hot air balloon pilot and enthusiast.

“He was a friend, family, and someone we all looked up to for his work ethic. He will be missed,” stated a post on the 315th Airlift Wing’s Facebook page.

George Michael Counts Sr. was born in Little Mountain and had been a resident of Aiken for 57 years. He had worked as a Health Physicist at the Savannah River Plant. He also served in the U.S. Air National Guard.

George Counts Sr. leaves behind a wife, Lois Ellen Cromer Counts of Aiken. Cynthia and George Counts Jr. leave behind a daughter and son-in-law, Katelyn Counts (Corey) Callahan of Greenville.